When Should You Quit Being An Entrepreneur?

Posted on / by Natalie Sisson / in Entrepreneurs / 35 comments
Richard Branson On Having Fun In Business

Can you quit being an entrepreneur? I’ve thought long and hard about this in the past few months.

It’s been sparked by some fascinating conversations with fellow entrepreneurs and reading Peter Shallard’s Why you should quit your business and get a real job.

I’m not announcing I’m quitting, far from it, but I do want to tell you I’ve thought about it more than once, in the past two years of having my online business.

When you’re in a 9-5 job and just not enjoying it, it’s totally natural to want to strike out on your own and start a business.

You discuss this with a lot of people as a way to make it through each day, and get you primed up to take action to eventually quit, and follow your dreams.

But as an entrepreneur, it is almost taboo to state `I’m thinking about quitting my business.’

How often do you hear anyone say `I’m thinking about walking away from it and going back to work in a day job.’

You’re meant to be in it for the long run right?

Having your own company is something others only dream of, so how could you possibly think about quitting?

Well I’m here to say you CAN quit.

It’s perfectly natural. Running a business is damn hard. If it was easy, then everyone would be doing it.

Being an entrepreneur is one of the most challenging endeavours

To all those people who make it sound easy, or disagree with my opinion, then I reckon you’re either lying or you’ve been incredibly lucky.

If we want to take one of the most obvious success stories, just look at the life story of Steve Jobs.

Apple was started in 1976 and it took decades of hard work and heartache before they became wildly profitable and the `Apple’ of almost everyone’s eye.

Steve Job worked himself to death and was notorious for being one of the most focused people on one singular vision.

No discredit to Steve and his empire (and I’m now a fully converted Apple fan), but that’s not my idea of having a life and a business you love.

It is ok to fail

This fantastic video, An Invocation for Beginning, is a must watch and makes so many great points on why we start anything meaningful, how scary that is and that you’re probably going to fuck it up.

What I particularly like, is when he says:

Even if you fail, the people who matter most in your life will still love you regardless.

If you say you’re closing your business, they will support you 100%. I think we often forget about that.

We place all this pressure on ourselves to succeed, and forget that regardless of whether we do or don’t, we’re still loved, no matter what.


You deserve to get paid what you’re worth

What so many people don’t realise is that entrepreneurs often put up with shitty pay, for super long hours, for much longer than they care to admit.

I am certain this is not good business. You need to charge what you’re worth.

You need to consider the time you are putting in, every waking hour, to ensure your business succeeds.

If you take a moment to work out your hourly rate, you may find you are being a complete fool.

Take into account client prep time, admin, endless hours working on tasks that you should outsource, and see if it’s adding up to decent earnings.

Then add in the amount you invest in infrastructure to run your business – software, tools, services, office space, security, team members.

Take your total profit and subtract the total of these operational costs and then divide this final amount by the amount of hours you’re REALLY working.

If it’s looking like a minimum wage job, then perhaps you should reconsider and go back to the job market.

Don’t forget the opportunity cost of a real job

I talk to many people reminiscing about their past cushy jobs.

You start remembering all those great benefits you got as an employee like free medical care (North Americans in particular are obsessed with this), employment insurance and pensions (retirement plans).

Don’t you dare forget about paid holidays, business travel on the company (while you rack up the frequent flyer miles), being able to use the company account to woo clients, having your expenses reimbursed and the opportunities for employee training and development.

I’ll admit it, sometimes a well paid job is an attractive alternative.

You don’t have to do everything yourself

I don’t condone people who try to do everything their selves in a business.

Well at least not after year 1 or 2, when you really should know better, and you recognise that investing in others will ultimately help your business to grow faster and be more profitable.

I do, however, wish to sometimes not be the chief decision maker.

Even as a head of department, in my last ever job I had back in 2008, I still enjoyed bouncing ideas off my manager and having him make the final decision on a project or initiative.

The fact that I still got paid for working, whether the project succeeded or not, was a big bonus.

 Your job and your business should be enjoyable

Richard Branson is famous for saying he would never run a business if it wasn’t a ton of fun.

Richard Branson On Having Fun In Business

While I’m yet to make billions and have a ball of the time, all the time like Richard, I do inject fun into my business wherever possible.

The minute I feel like it could be a bit of a drag, too much hard work, or it’s sapping my energy, I get up and shake my booty.

Then I reprimand myself for working too hard, not disconnecting, and focusing on the work that doesn’t matter.

If you’re not loving what you’re doing AND you’re not making money, then you should be looking for a job!

What do you think? Are you better off quitting your business and getting a job? Have your say in the comments below.